Reviewed by: Richard Mowe

Ghosts from the past often have a habit of turning at the least appropriate moments. Such is the case for the newlyweds at the heart of this Czech drama, their big day cast asunder after an apparent stranger insinuates himself into the church and the celebration at the family house in the country.

The director Jan Hrebejk, who gives the proceedings distinct echoes of Thomas Vinterberg’s Festen, concentrates his intimate embrace over an afternoon, night and the next morning. His pacing is perfect, with each revelation timed to intrigue and pull you further into the mystery.

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Everyone assumes the omnipresent guest is an old friend of the bride or groom but soon they begin to realise that nobody really admits to knowing who he might be. He’s polite, playing obligingly with the children and generally assuming an affable manner, albeit with an undercurrent of creepiness.

It’s lushly filmed with sunny exteriors and low-key interiors leading up to the shocking denouement and its aftermath.

Anyone with an antipathy towards big family gatherings will find plenty here to engage with and the director invests the happy couple, Tereza (Anna Geislerová) and Radim (Stanislav Majer), with a blissful exterior that masks some sinister undercurrents not immediately apparent in the relationship.

Honeymoon fittingly concludes the director’s loose trilogy that began with Kawasaki's Rose (2009) and Innocence (2011). The characters in those two films also had to contend with shadows from the past that reappeared to haunt them later in life.

Reviewed on: 30 Jun 2013
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When an uninvited guest turns up, a wedding day turns sour.

Director: Jan Hřebejk

Year: 2013

Runtime: 92 minutes

Country: Czech Republic, Slovak Republic


Karlovy 2013

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